Southern Oceans

Green turtle covering up its eggs, Ascension Island; Copyright: Dr Sam Weber

Ascension Island

Ascension Island lies in splendid isolation, just S of the equator, in mid-Atlantic. It has spectacular volcanic scenery & exceptional globally important biodiversity, including at least 60 endemic species of plants, fish & invertebrates. The island supports also the largest green turtle & seabird nesting colonies in the tropical Atlantic. However, as with many oceanic islands, Ascension has a significant invasive species problem. Read more

Leopard seal, Antarctica; Copyright: Stewart McPherson

British Antarctic Territory

Life in the frozen south sees sparse vegetation on land, although there are many species of lichen, moss and algae. In the surrounding seas, vast amounts of krill provide the basis for rich marine life. This includes whales, seals and very large numbers of birds, especially petrels and penguins, inhabiting the islands and coastal areas of the Peninsula. Adélie and emperor penguins both breed on the continent itself. Read more

Reef life, BIOT Copyright: Stewart McPherson

British Indian Ocean Territory

BIOT comprises the 7 atolls of the Chagos Archipelago in the central Indian Ocean. The small land area is home to large colonies of seabirds, coconut crabs & nesting sea turtles. The surrounding support a treasure trove of marine life in one of the world's largest marine protected areas, but its history is troubled. Read more

Gentoo march in the Falkland Islands; Copyright: Dr Sam Weber

Falkland Islands

The Falklands, S Atlantic wildlife haven, are home to 2,800 native species, of which 30 are found nowhere else. The Islands are exceptionally rich in marine life, supporting vast colonies of seabirds, including 85% of the world population of black-browed albatrosses & the largest concentration of rockhopper penguins. They are breeding grounds for sea lions, elephant & fur seals. 15 species of whale & dolphin occur in their waters. Read more

Bounty Bay, Pitcairn Islands

Pitcairn Islands

Best known as the haven for the mutineers from HMS Bounty, this group of four small & varied islands in the South Pacific support a range of impressive flora & fauna. This includes 10 endemic vascular plants, and a number of endemic land birds. Green turtles use the beaches for breeding and the islands are home to many globally important populations of seabirds. The marine environment supports incredibly healthy ecosystems. Read more

An incubating wandering albatross, South Georgia Copyright: Derren Fox

South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands

These two island groups are icy jewels in the Southern Ocean, supporting huge seabird colonies, seal species. several endemic birds, and a number of cetacean species offshore. There are 25 species of vascular plants native to SGSSI and great diversity in the mosses, liverworts and lichens with many found nowhere else in the world. Read more

Arum lilies overlooking Sandy Bay, St Helena Copyright: Paul Tyson

St Helena

St Helena's isolated S Atlantic position has given rise to an unusual & remarkable land & marine flora & fauna. The Island is home to 45 plants that occur nowhere else and is a global hotspot for invertebrate diversity, with around 460 endemic species. The marine environment supports diverse marine life, including many endemics, and several charismatic migratory species including humpback whales, whale sharks and turtles. Read more

Tristan's famous sign; Copyright: Mike Pienkowski

Tristan da Cunha

Rising to over 2000m above the S Atlantic, Tristan da Cunha is the world's most isolated inhabited island. Devoid of living organisms at its volcanic origin, the islands' evolving flora & fauna hold indigenous land birds as well as the millions of seabirds & marine mammals that visit each year. Over 40% of Tristan's territory is a nature reserve and Gough and Inaccessible Islands are a World Heritage Site. Read more